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David Cornell, Chairman and Founder of BOFA International with sons Christian (left), Lawrence (right) and James Robinson, Director, PKF Francis Clark

Bournemouth Solicitors advise in £23 million management buyout


A Dorset business which has become a world leader in fume extraction technology has been bought by its management in a £23m deal.

BOFA International began life in founder David Cornell’s double garage in 1987. The Creekmoor-based company now employs more than 160 people and has an annual turnover of £16 million.

The business designs, develops and manufactures extraction and filtration equipment for a wide range of industries, including electronics, laser engraving and marking, pharmaceutical, printing, dental and beauty.

All its products are made in the UK with over 80 per cent exported to more than 100 countries worldwide. It received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in 2012.

The £23 million management buyout was supported by private equity firm LDC Partners which is part of the Lloyds Banking Group.

Dorset commercial law firm Steele Raymond and chartered accountants and business advisers Princecroft Willis (PcW) advised the selling shareholders.

David Cornell, who was BOFA International’s Chairman, will retire but his son Christian, previously Production Director, is staying with the company as a shareholder.

The buyout is expected to pave the way for further growth and development for BOFA and its management team, led by Chief Executive Tony Lockwood. This includes expansion into new markets, further investment in product development, international reach and potential future acquisitions.

Mr Cornell said the decision to sell his shareholding was not taken lightly but he praised the work of Steele Raymond and Princecroft Willis.

He added:

“I was very impressed with the support my family and I received from both Steele Raymond and Princecroft Willis throughout the sale process. Both teams were exceptionally knowledgeable, efficient and dedicated to ensuring this complex deal was completed successfully.”

Steele Raymond’s Chairman, Partner and company and commercial solicitor Tim Stone, who led the transaction together with partners Craig Hardman and Carol Elliott, said: “It was a real pleasure supporting David and his two sons to help achieve their ambitions with this deal. BOFA has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth under their guidance and we wish the management team and its backers well in continuing that success over the coming years.”

James Robinson, PcW Director, said Princecroft Willis had worked with the Cornell family and BOFA since 2008.

He added: “We have seen the company grow to new premises, increase turnover from £4m to over £16m and expand into America and Europe. BOFA is an amazing company with industry leading products and I am confident that the company will continue to grow and be a flagship for manufacturing and engineering in Dorset and the UK.” 

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